Kansas City,
08:59 AM

Implant helps teen regain control of hands

Autumn DBS

Raising your arms and moving your hands might seem easy to some people, but it's something a Blue Springs teen has struggled with for a decade.

Autumn Nelson, 15, started having uncontrollable movements in her hands when she was in kindergarten.

She was eventually diagnosed with type-1 Dystonia. A few weeks ago, her uncontrollable movements worsened, spreading to her jaw.

Neurology specialist Dr. Brian Aalbers recommended surgery to stimulate specific areas of the brain, implanting electrodes.

"This signal will go in there and allow the inner part of her brain to communicate with the outer part of her brain and let her do what she wants to do, as opposed to a thousand things at once," Aalbers said.

"It's kind of crazy because for years we thought there was no cure, nothing to help," Autumn Nelson said.

On Friday, Aalbers programmed a tiny implant in Nelson's back that leads to the electrodes in her brain.

"Oh, I'm just excited for her really, just for her driving, getting a job and writing ... things that people take for granted," said Tiffannie Nelson, Autumn's mother.

Autumn Nelson said she's excited and looking forward to being able to do more things.

"I didn't want to get my hopes up. I came in here thinking I don't want to be let down. But it is crazy to see results so fast. I want to get my nails done. That's the main thing I've been thinking about for so long. I just want to get my nails done," Autumn Nelson said.

It will take months to finish programming the electrodes to see much stimulation she can take.

Aalbers said he's seen 80 to 100 percent improvement with the procedure, which was recently approved for children.

Watch the full video via KMBC.

Read more about Children's Mercy's Division of Neurology.